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A leak is believed to be the cause of a gas explosion that leveled one house and shook an entire Boston neighborhood on Wednesday morning. The blast, which occurred about 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 3, destroyed the home of Michael Burns. No one was at home at the time of the explosion and no injuries were reported.
According to The Boston Globe, however, Burns and his partner who share the home, have lost everything. Burns, who had left for work early that morning, received a call saying his house had been destroyed. "I just couldn't comprehend it. I just couldn't comprehend what happened," Burns told The Globe.
Neighbors, who include Boston's Mayor Thomas Menino, described the gas explosion as an earthquake. Menino, who was also away from home when the blast occurred, said the city would give whatever help it could. However, the city may be on the hook for more than that, as the explosion may have been caused by a Water and Sewer contractor.
A spokeswoman for natural gas firm NSTAR told The Globe that the worker cut into a gas line, enabling gas to leak into Burns' home. The gas was then ignited by an unknown source, causing the blast. There will no doubt be an investigation into why and how the gas line was cut. According to The Globe, the workers knew immediately that there was a problem and knocked on the door of the house. Seconds after they left, the house exploded.
Whether or not appropriate precautions were taken will, in part, determine any negligence liability for the workers, DeFelice Corp. (the contractors) or even the city. The Globe reports fire officials estimated the damage to Burns' home at about $500,000 and that an additional $500,000 in damage was done to area homes and businesses.
Michael Burns and the city of Boston were comparatively lucky. A natural gas leak in San Bruno California on September 9 caused an explosion which killed eight people and destroyed or damaged more than 59 homes.